HISTORIC buildings and open space in a key part of Dudley are in line for a major overhaul as part of a £20million plan.

Buildings which have stood empty for decades could be redeveloped into accommodation under the Levelling Up Fund bid.

The plan also includes breathing new life into the Inhedge Gardens which will link the town centre with the St Thomas Quarter.

The blueprints were submitted to the government by Dudley Council this week.

This scheme was originally planned for a future round of the Levelling Up Fund but regeneration bosses were keen to maximise the momentum from the £1billion of developments already gathering pace in the town.

Councillor Simon Phipps, Dudley's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: "This is a major scheme which will not only breathe new life into that important part of the town centre but will also create vital links with the High Street and create much-needed accommodation.

"I am pleased we have been able to draw up this bid for round two of the levelling up scheme rather than waiting for a future round so we can build on the regeneration momentum in the town."

The Dudley bid has been backed by Dudley North MP Marco Longhi, which is one of the key conditions of the scheme.

It is the latest bid submitted by the council to the government along with a £20million college development and town centre improvements in Halesowen and major improvements to the road network in Lye and improvements to pedestrian access.

There is also a bid for Dudley South which includes a major new college development and improved cycling and pedestrian links into the town.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood said: “This Levelling Up bid is about establishing Dudley South as a centre for the next generation of vehicle technologies so that it becomes the place for businesses to invest in high-paying jobs.

“As well as the new Vehicle Technology Centre, the plan will help to make Brierley Hill a nicer place to shop and to work, joining up different parts of the town centre.”

The outcome of the bids will be announced in the autumn and the plans will be subject to the normal planning consents being granted.